(UnitedVoice.com) – Whenever anyone in Congress brings up large legislative proposals, there are always debates and thorny issues to work out. Generally, Democrats and Republicans agree on infrastructure bills. Even now, all sides agree that the nation’s infrastructure is aging and outmoded. However, this time the negotiations are different as the two sides go back and forth about the definition and cost of an infrastructure package.
President Biden and the Democrats recently negotiated the price tag of their infrastructure bill down to $1.7 trillion. On Thursday, May 27, Senate Republicans countered with a $928 billion infrastructure package. Biden says the GOP must come up to $1 trillion and set a self-imposed Memorial Day deadline for negotiations.
Both Sides Are Far Apart and Getting a Deal Done Is Tricky
There are numerous sticking points between the two sides. One is the definition of “infrastructure,” which is getting in the way of meaningful negotiations. Democrats want to include free community college, home health care, electric vehicle rebates, and upgrades to low-income housing and schools. Additionally, the president is proposing a substantial increase in corporate taxes to pay for the legislation.
Republicans propose that only traditional infrastructure items like roads, bridges, airports, railways, ports, water systems, and other necessary infrastructure items should be in the package. Additionally, they argue that raising taxes on businesses is really a tax hike on American consumers. Businesses don’t pay taxes. They are a passthrough entity that collects the taxes that the consumer pays. Instead of raising taxes, Senate Republicans say Congress should reallocate the money from unused COVID-19 resources.
Biden Contends With GOP and His Left Wing
Not only does Biden need to walk a tight line with Republicans, but the left-wing of the Democratic Party is starting to balk. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said the GOP counteroffer wasn’t serious. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promises to go it alone soon if the GOP doesn’t get on board.
However, that threat may be useless. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) doesn’t want to go in that direction, and he’s appealing for more time to negotiate. Unless Manchin is onboard with anything, the Democrats are dead in the water.
What’s Likely to Happen
There are growing concerns among voters that Biden is too liberal and the government is spending too much money. In the end, negotiations will likely drag on through the summer. Republicans are likely to get much of what they want if Manchin doesn’t shift the line and abandon bipartisan efforts. Biden, Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will grumble and make a scene but, in the end, will likely pass an infrastructure deal with little to no social welfare plans.
Of course, there’s always reconciliation looming. However, that could be tricky because Schumer would need Manchin onboard. The Senate Majority Leader would also need to justify to the Senate Parliamentarian why he would need to revise a former reconciliation bill to add trillions of dollars in new spending.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess what will ultimately happen.
Stay tuned. This is an evolving story.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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